You go out to dinner on a Friday night. Your favorite restaurant is absolutely packed and you end up waiting 30 minutes before you get to sit down. At this point, your stomach is growling and you're so hungry you'd eat just about anything and everything. So, you order appetizers, an entree and a dessert and the bill comes up pretty steep, so you decide to skimp out on tipping your server, or even not tip him or her at all. Telling yourself that it isn't such a big deal, servers have multiple tables at a time and surely one of them will tip. But what if none of them do?
Servers earn around $3 an hour, which isn't a whole lot. Many servers work doubles and are on their feet all day long, running from table to table delivering customers food and drinks. Servers work hard. It's not easy to keep a smile on your face and have an upbeat attitude all day long. Sure, there have been times when I've had servers that aren't in the best of moods, but it's important to put their emotions into perspective. Maybe they've been over-sat all day long, maybe they haven't had their break yet, maybe they're new, maybe they're just having one of those days, and you leaving them $0 is not going to help.
Many servers are working in a restaurant as their second or third job, trying to pay their bills or pay off college loans. Some are in college and are trying to save up as much as they can before they go back to school and have to pay for books, things for their room and be able to have money to enjoy nights out with friends. Every dollar counts.
What you also may not know is that some servers have to tip out other restaurant employees based on their sales. If a restaurant has a food runner, they earn a percentage of server's sales. Often times the bar gets a tip out of sales, and the bussers earn some too. This means that the amount of money a server takes home at the end of the night is even less than you probably thought.
It's also important to remember that if your order gets messed up, or your burger is slightly under or over cooked, it's not your server's fault. Your server did not cook or prepare your meal, and it is not right to scream at your server for this type of error. Yes, it is unpleasant when you are paying to go out to eat and you get the wrong meal or it is not to your liking. But it is not your server who is cooking your meal and it's not something that should make you tip less.
Take into consideration all the work your server does to ensure you have a pleasant experience. When it comes time to pay the bill, your tip is helping a mother pay for her child's diapers, helping a young adult pay rent for her new apartment or helping a college student pay off student loans. So please, the next time your out to dinner, tip your server well. They really do work hard for their money. That 20 percent really does go further than you think.